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Combined heat and power for whisky distillers

A joint development between Helius Energy and The Combination of Rothes Distillers Limited (CoRD) and will see the installation of a biomass-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) plant at CoRD.

The CHP unit will use a combination of distillery co-products and wood chip to generate 7.2 MW of electricity, which can be used onsite or exported to the National Grid in the UK.

Helius Energy’s strategy is based on the provision of two sizes of biomass-fired renewable electricity generation plants – large plants of over 60 MWe in size and smaller scale GreenSwitch™ 5-8 MWe.

As part of the project, a new GreenFields™ plant will be built alongside a GreenSwitch CHP unit turning the liquid co-product of whisky production, known as Pot Ale, into a concentrated organic fertiliser for use by local farmers.

The solid grain product removed from the mash tun, prior to fermentation of the liquor, is known as draff. Pot Ale is a high-protein co-product removed prior to final distillation of the spirit.

The GreenFields™ process takes the co-products from distillery operations (including process water, pot ale and draff) and turns them into inputs such as biomass fuel, liquid soil conditioner and animal feed.

The project was awarded the Best Environmental Initiative Award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2008 in December, and has received planning permission from Moray Council.

The plant, which represents an investment of around £35 million, is expected to take 18 to 24 months to construct and could be the first of its kind to use draff and pot ale as a biomass fuel alongside wood.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy efficiency  •  Green building